Edmund Ansin

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Edmund Ansin
Born(1936-03-09)March 9, 1936
DiedJuly 26, 2020(2020-07-26) (aged 84)
EducationB.A., University of Pennsylvania, B.S., Wharton School
Known forco-founder of Sunbeam Television
Net worthIncrease US$ 1.4 billion(March 2014)[1]
Spouse(s)Toby Lerner (divorced)
ChildrenAndrew Ansin
James Ansin
Stephanie Ansin
Parent(s)Sidney D. Ansin

Edmund N. Ansin (March 9, 1936 – July 26, 2020) was an American billionaire and co-founder of Sunbeam Television. He was credited with being an innovator in the television news industry, breaking away from the conventional mold that had been used by other independent stations. His approach ended up being a success, first in Miami and then in Boston.

Early life and education[edit]

Ansin was born to a Jewish family,[2] in Worcester, Massachusetts, and raised in nearby Athol, Massachusetts.[3][4] In 1936, his father, Sidney D. Ansin,[2] the son of a Ukrainian immigrant, founded Anwelt Shoe, a shoe manufacturing business in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.[5] He moved the family to Florida in 1941.[6] His parents were the founding members of Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach.[2] Ansin was sent back to Massachusetts for preparatory school at Andover Academy.[3] After two years at Harvard University,[4] he graduated in 1957 from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Economics.[6] His brother is former Massachusetts commerce commissioner Ronald Ansin.[3] Ronald bought Anwelt Shoe from his father in 1966.[5]


In 1962, Ansin and his father formed Sunbeam Television Corporation after Sidney Ansin purchased the license for Miami's NBC-affiliated television station, WCKT, for $3.4 million. Ed Ansin became an executive vice president at Sunbeam;[3][6] after his father's death in 1971, he became Sunbeam's president.[2][6] WCKT changed its call letters to WSVN in 1983, and at the end of 1988, WSVN lost its affiliation with NBC and Ansin, after rebuking then CBS chairman Laurence Tisch's offer to purchase the station,[6] found himself without network affiliation.[3] The station affiliated with the up-start Fox network, and supplemented its local news broadcasts with content from the newly launched CNN satellite network. Rather than follow the conventional approach used by successful independent stations (morning kids' shows, afternoon game shows, evening movies, and syndicated sitcoms), Ansin instead decided to focus on news. Instead of dry and stoic presentation, he and his news director, Joel Cheatwood, created the now ubiquitous 'Miami News style' with fast-paced reporting, crime-led stories, live breaking coverage, and pretty presenters.[3] "If it bleeds, it leads" became an industry catch phrase.[3] The approach was wildly successful and WSVN news soon became the market leader.[3] WSVN reported $96 million in revenues in 2011.[6]

In 1993, Ansin bought Boston's WHDH Channel 7. He shortened the time spent on individual news stories, relied heavily on video and audio effects, and emphasized "on-the-spot" reporting.[3] In 2006, Sunbeam Television purchased Boston's WLVI, a CW Television Network affiliate, from Tribune Broadcasting.[7]

Sunbeam Properties, a subsidiary of Sunbeam Television, developed the 400-acre Miramar Park of Commerce, the largest business park in Broward County.[8]


Ansin was the only person who has received the United Way's Alexis de Tocqueville Award for philanthropy in three different cities.[3] He donated $1 million to build Emerson College's radio station and technical communications building.[3] Ansin and his brother Ron, former Massachusetts commerce commissioner, donated $2.6 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston and their Youth Service Providers Network.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Ansin was divorced from his wife Toby Lerner Ansin, who founded the Miami City Ballet.[8][9] They had three children: Andrew Ansin works at Sunbeam Properties, James Ansin works at Sunbeam Television, and Stephanie Ansin,[8] artistic director and co-founder of The PlayGround Theatre (now the Miami Theater Center).[10][11] The Ansins were members of Temple Beth David.[12]

Ansin died on July 26, 2020, at his home in Miami. He was 84 and had become unwell only over the weekend of his death.[13] The Sunbeam Television broadcast operations are expected to continue within the Ansin family, led by Andrew and James.[14]


  1. ^ Forbes, "The World's Billionaires – Edmund Ansin" March 2014
  2. ^ a b c d The Miami News: "Commemoration of the Ansin Breezeway" January 22, 1981
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Boston, "Breaking News", David S. Bernstein November 2001
  4. ^ a b South Florida Business Journal, "Ansin family to keep working until the cows have no home", Kevin Galeto August 27, 2001
  5. ^ a b The Boston Globe: "A factory revision – In Fitchburg, a developer turns his family's former shoe mill into affordable apartments", Kathleen Pierce September 21, 2008
  6. ^ a b c d e f Sun Sentinel, "WSVN-TV's Ed Ansin keeps blazing a trail, even after 50 years", Maria Mallory White January 8, 2013
  7. ^ Romano, Allison (September 14, 2006). "Tribune Sells Boston Station". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 22, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link); "WLVI's main man takes the high road". Telegram & Gazette. December 14, 2006. Retrieved March 22, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)  – via NewsBank (subscription required)
  8. ^ a b c South Florida Business Journal, "Younger Ansin gains accolades for development", Lois Perdue February 28, 2000
  9. ^ Dance Lines: "Rojo and Lopez sieze the chance to call the tune" retrieved August 10, 2013; "Jews of Greater Miami", Marcia Jo Zerivitz, Jewish Museum of Florida retrieved August 10, 2013
  10. ^ Miami Artzine: "Stephanie Ansin, PlayGround Theatre and Miami Theater Center", Roger Martin Archived August 11, 2013, at Archive.today September 18, 2012
  11. ^ Theater Communications Group: "Down the Rabbit Hole with Stephanie Ansin", Bill Hirschman Archived October 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine March 2011
  12. ^ Miami News: Famed tenor, cellist draw full houses on same night" by Bella Goldstein May 6, 1980
  13. ^ Leung, Shirley; Feldman, Abigail (July 26, 2020). "Ed Ansin, television news pioneer and owner of Channel 7, dies. He was 84". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 27, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link); Marchante, Michelle; Marr, Madeleine (July 27, 2020). "TV 'trailblazer' Ed Ansin, who helped change the flavor of news, dies in Miami at 84". Miami Herald. Retrieved July 27, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ Loss of a Leader: WSVN owner Ed Ansin passes away at 84 July 27, 2020